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Woman driven by diabetes to keep pedigree goats inspires villagers

By JANCITA MUTURA
Grace Muthoni tends to six goat kids at her home in Miiri village in Mathira, Nyeri county. [Jacinta Mutura]

Grace Muthoni did not enjoy a normal childhood. She was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 14-years-old. Her lifestyle changed since her teenage to date as she has had to observe a good diet so as to tame her condition.

The 46-year-old woman who hails from Miiri village, Mathira Constituency in Nyeri County quit her accounting job in Nairobi after her condition got worse and lost sight in one eye. Her doctor instructed her to avoid milk with cholesterol and she had to change to drinking goat milk which has less fats.

“I started keeping goats for milk after my doctor advised me not to drink milk with fats. It has been three years now and the strict direction by the doctor motivated me even more. I could have decided to keep two goats for my milk but I have an interest in agriculture,” said the mother of two.

In a day, she milks 30 litres with a litre going for Sh200. “I only need a little amount of milk for my condition. I sell the rest to people with health conditions like me or anyone interested in this area,” she said.

However, the farmer-accountant decried that uptake of goat milk in Kenya and central region particularly has not grown to leave her with few customers.

“Sometimes I sell it at the same price as cow’s milk. Most of the households have a cow or two and the culture of drinking goat milk is only among few people,” said Muthoni noting that the low demand she said has discouraged her to add more goats.

Diabetes took away sight for her one eye and the other one can only see not more than 50 metres. But that has not stopped her determination in farming.

“I lost sight in 2005 but that did not bring me down. My daughters are my greatest motivation because they are still in school. I go for weekly dialysis and I need money to cater for the process and my medication as well,” she said adding that she has been on urinary catheter due to kidneys malfunctioning.

The latest news of one of the goats that gave birth to six kids crowned her efforts in the farming venture.

“I couldn’t believe a goat can give birth to six kids because the maximum it has ever birthed is five kids. I expected four kids and that came as a surprise,” she said.

The six kids add to the other 10 pedigree goats in her pen adding that she has had farmers visiting her farm to learn about goat keeping.

Muthoni sells a four-month pedigree goat at Sh10, 000.

In her farm, she has also planted 6000 bushes of coffee trees which she says earn her Sh250, 000 per year while the chicken project earns her Sh40, 000 after every three months. She has kept over 200 chicken for commercial purposes.

“There is a lot of money in farming but this generation wants quick money. You will need to be patient to make money. Those who are doing three months farming can make more money,” she noted.

She says she earns high proceeds from farming compared to her former employment.

Ella Wangui is among her neighbours who are inspired by the determination she exhibited in agribusiness despite her condition.

“I admire her job because she is diabetic and her sight is not good but she has done so much in terms of agriculture. She is an inspiration to me and other people in this area,” said Wangui.

Muthoni’s proceeds from agribusiness go to her medication and paying her two daughters’ school fees.

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